I’ve got a theory that every RTB team has a few tricks that would help most of the other teams in the field. Some of them are small, some of them large, but we’ve all got ‘em. Now I’m hoping some of you will share yours with the rest of us.
When I look back over a decade of relays, I see a series of tiny tricks and strategies building up to the strategy we now use every year. In the early years we highlighted the race route in atlases. Then we brought a GPS. Now it’s smartphones. And packing an adapter that allows a power strip to be plugged into the van’s cigarette lighter keeps those devices fresh from start to finish. Wearing a visor beneath a headlamp helps visibility and wearing compression sleeves helps muscles recovery. Calculating the amount of food and water to buy requires information that only previous year’s races could provide. Van decorations can help you find your vehicle in a crowded lot, and unique lights help you spot your runner as he or she approaches the transition. Every aspect of the race, it seems, goes smoother with a little planning. And having some tricks up your sleeve doesn’t hurt.
The one area that never goes smoothly for my teams is, of all things, food storage. Every year when we clean out the van, we find untouched food deep down in some carton, under some seat. Packs of Fig Newtons, bags of fresh grapes, loaves of bread. There’s just no way (that I’ve found, anyway) to organize the food so it’s easily accessible—not to mention easy to find in the dead of night. People grab what’s on top and ignore the rest. There must be a better way to sort this stuff than in the bags and milk crates we typically use.
So here’s my plea: If you’re reading this, what’s a tip or trick you’d share with a new RTB runner? Could be big, could be small. Could involve pre-race planning or in-race logistics. Could’ve emerged from years of experience or been stumbled upon in If you leave a comment, post on Facebook, or email me at mchalu4 [at] gmail [dot] com, I’ll compile the best ideas in a future post. And if you solve my food problem, I’ll be forever grateful.